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How to Ask for a Reference Letter

By Reuters, Harvard Business Review | Jul 21, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Here are three ways to ask your mentor, boss, or colleague - and to get them to write a rave review

Asking someone to take the time and energy to write down all the ways in which you’re great can feel like an inconvenience at best and a true imposition at worst.

Here are three ways to ease the process and ensure your mentor, boss, or colleague writes a rave review:

    1. Highlight his/her qualifications.

Be clear about why you are asking this person for a reference and what uniquely qualifies him/her to speak on your behalf. This should be flattering and truthful.

    2. Provide a draft.

The only thing worse than asking for a reference letter is writing one. Make it easy on your mentor or boss by providing a draft. However, be sure that he or she knows that she doesn’t need to use it.

    3. Give her an out.

Be sure to allow your colleague a way to gracefully say no — for any reason. You aren’t likely to get a glowing review from someone who feels forced to write one.”

    — Today’s Management Tip was adapted from “How to Ask for a Reference Letter” by Jodi Glickman Brown.



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